Why do I need a marketing strategy?
If your business is doing well, why do you need a marketing strategy? Here Brand Strategist Katie Sandell explains why they are an essential part of any business.
Whether you’re a multinational corporate organisation, or an agile tech start-up, a marketing strategy can help to define and pin down what you’re trying to achieve as an organisation through marketing, and crucially, how you’re going to get there.
Of course, working in the Mobas strategy team, there’s no surprise that I would say this, however hopefully once I’ve outlined the reasons why I believe it’s so important for a business to have a marketing strategy in place, you’ll start to understand why at Mobas we’re so passionate about strategy.
First and foremost, what are your business goals? This is usually the first question we ask our clients in our strategy workshops. We need to get under the skin of your business before we can even begin to start defining what marketing activity we should be doing. By understanding where the business wants to go, we can start to formulate a plan to get us there, and this is true for all sizes of business. If you want to be a grown-up business who are taken seriously, you need to have structure to your marketing, otherwise you run the risk of taking a scattergun approach and trying to be offering all products and services to all people, which is a potentially dangerous place to be.
A marketing strategy also enables you to understand your position in the marketplace and how this may even need to change depending on the market shifts and your audiences. How is your company going to respond to market trends and the changing requirements of our audience? No company should stand still, so it’s important that we understand which direction we’re moving in.
Not only this, but knowing who you are and what you’re trying to achieve can give you an edge on your competition, and can also help you to say ‘no’ to certain marketing tactics – for example, it can help you make decisions such as ‘going to that annual conference just isn’t right for us any more’.
2. A central point of truth
A marketing strategy is not only good for knowing where we’re going, but it’s also the best way of sense-checking what we’re currently doing – and why we’re doing it. Your marketing strategy acts as your central point of truth. Ideally, other members of the team will have input into the strategy and so it should constantly be referred to throughout the year in order to ensure that every piece of marketing communication can be scrutinised – for example, ‘should we be doing this PPC campaign?’; ‘Does the headline on that advert sound like us?’ A marketing strategy gives you something to hang your hat on!
3. Roles and responsibilities
It’s important when developing a marketing strategy to take people on the journey with you. Whether it’s your Financial Director who ‘doesn’t want to pay for a load of marketing fluff’ or your Sales Manager who ‘just wants a new sales presenter and money towards a golf day’, by involving people in the development of your marketing strategy, you not only get their buy-in early on, but you can allocate roles and responsibilities to different departments and individuals. For example, when you come to measure the success of how the strategy has been implemented, is the sales team able to tell you how many extra leads have been generated? Can your finance team help you to measure ROI?
In addition to this, a marketing strategy can also help you to manage resource. Most of the time with marketing, it’s better to do a few things really well, rather than to try and spread yourself too thinly. By creating a marketing strategy, you can work out what can be achieved, by when and by whom.
By involving wider members of the team, it gives them a sense of ownership, but also pride when the team are able to celebrate successes as a collective.
4. Keeping it audience-first
A marketing strategy by its very nature should be audience-focused and so this gives us the ability to say yea or nay to any marketing tactics that don’t put our audience at the centre of what we do. But, in order to do this, we need to know who our audience are and what motivates them. What factors are they basing their purchasing decision on? What is their role in the purchasing process? All of these questions should be answered and documented within your marketing strategy and therefore understanding this information and level of detail about our audience is a very powerful tool.
Within a marketing strategy should be an articulation of who you are as a business – what you stand for, where you’re going and how you’re going to change the marketplace. The essence of the business should sit at the centre of everything that you do and should be the common thread that runs through all touchpoints of your business – from how your receptionist answers the phone to how you write tender documents.
The power of this articulation of your brand shouldn’t be underestimated. It’s incredibly uniting for the business, but also for the people who work within it. To know that each of your employees is striving for a common goal is incredibly motivating and can also be very valuable when attracting new talent to join you on your mission.
It’s important to remember that a marketing strategy isn’t just limited to marketing teams. It’s a powerful tool that can help motivate teams, give direction and ultimately drive a business forward. This is why at Mobas we’re so passionate about marketing strategy: because it’s the powerful tool that ultimately helps to deliver business success.